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If the recession has proved anything, it’s that American consumers are willing to pay a premium for healthy products. Due to its compelling image as an innovative yet accessible beverage that’s good-tasting, good for you and budget-friendly, tea has remained profitable, with 2 percent annual gains in 2008 and 2009, according to “Tea and Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Tea in the U.S.: Retail, Foodservice and Consumer Trends” by Packaged Facts.
Over the next several years, tea’s health halo will gradually return the market to the double-digit gains it experienced prior to the recession, particularly as additional research solidifies the product’s healthful and functional properties. Rockville, Md.-based Packaged Facts estimates the U.S. market for tea sold through retail and foodservice channels at $9 billion in 2009, forecasting a 5 percent increase in 2010. Steadily rising annual percentage gains are projected through 2014, when growth will reach 10 percent and sales will exceed $12 billion.